By Fiona Cochran
The second “24 Hour Prayer” of the Fall 2019 semester took place Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. through Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. During this time, students were encouraged to pray individually or corporately for at least an hour during this 24 hour period of time. During the first event of the semester, which took place Oct. 9-10, students were also encouraged to write encouragements on the back wall of the auditorium in Butterfield Chapel.
Last year’s Prayer Coordinator, Caleb Smith, led a similar event called “7 & 7.” During “7 & 7,” students met in the Butterfield Chapel for an hour at both 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to learn about and apply different prayer practices. Students were also encouraged to fast between sessions.
This semester, Bella Najarro became the new Prayer Coordinator and brought back “24 Hour Prayer” as a non-structured time for students to listen to God and write encouraging notes on the back wall of the chapel. The relaxed format of “24 Hour Prayer” encourages students to pray on their own, at any location, for an hour.
Campus Pastor Christian Dawson said that “24 Hour Prayer” was created with the intention of inviting students into an open space to seek the Lord despite hectic schedules and noisy environments.
“Some students feel the hardship of having a quiet place to meet with God when they have a roommate. So opening the chapel for 24 hours is an opportunity to give students space,” Dawson said. “Time and space are two of the most important ingredients to a growing relationship with God.”
Campus Ministries made another change this year by splitting the Prayer and Life Group Coordinator position into two positions: Prayer Coordinator and Life Group Coordinator. The intention behind this decision was to give more time to each of those areas.
Najarro’s intentional dedication to her role as Prayer Coordinator can already be felt on the NU campus. In this year’s first “24 Hour Prayer,” 129 people participated. Afterwards, encouraging words decorated the back wall of the chapel auditorium. When Najarro walked into the chapel and read the notes on the wall, she said she was filled with wonder and a desire to keep inspiring community prayer.
“Over the past year, I’ve learned the discipline and power of intercession,” Najarro said.
She believes “24 Hour Prayer” gave people an opportunity to take initiative in their relationship with God by speaking with Him.
“I want to be intentional about that,” Najarro said, “taking initiative in our faith and always knowing there is more.”
While “7 & 7” focused on skills and practices regarding prayer, “24 Hour Prayer” provides a chance to practice the spiritual discipline of silence. Ministry Assistant Megan Netherton explained the success of each event is characterized by completely different factors.
“They were both successful, but in different ways,” Netherton said.
Due to the success of the “24 Hour Prayer” format, students can expect to see the event offered again.
“As far as I know, 24 Hour Prayer will be continued,” Najarro said.